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Vitamin E

Posted by on Friday, June 12, 2009, 17:19
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Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is an important fat soluble vitamin. It is found in many foods, the best sources being whole grains, lettuce, vegetable oils, liver, beans, meat, and fish.

For many years, scientists were unsure of exactly what vitamin E does for the body. The first discovery was that the substance helps protects vitamin A and C, as well as natural acidsĀ  occurring in fat, from oxidation.

Oxidation is a chemical process in which oxygen molecules corrode and eventually destroy other substances. For example, common rust from the oxidation of metals when exposed to oxygen in the air. Similarly, various substances in the body can be oxidized by certain kinds of oxygen molecules that move through the blood system.

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, or a substance that counteracts oxidation. In addition to protecting other vitamins from being destroyed, vitamin E also prevents body fats acids from turning rancid due to oxidation.

And because the membranes surrounding the body’s billions of cells contain a high percentage of fatty acids that could readily become oxidized, the vitamin helps protect these membranes from weakening.

The new studies seems to shown that vitamin E renders the loose oxygen molecules harmless, thus sharply reducing oxidation, and, in turn, the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Patients in the studies took vitamin E supplements containing doses of at least 100Imus per day.

This is about eight times the current RDA for the vitamin. Some doctors feel that the studies are still preliminary and that further research must be done before vitamin E’s benefits for heart disease are conclusive, But there is widespread optimism in the medical community.

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